Sumitomo Metal develops rechargeable battery recycling technology

30th August, 2021.      //   General Interest  // 


TOKYO, Aug 16 – Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd said on Monday it had developed a technology to recover nickel and cobalt from rechargeable batteries like used lithium-ion-batteries (LIBs) which will be reused as raw materials for LIBs.

Japan’s biggest nickel smelter, which has been able to recover nickel and copper from rechargeable batteries since 2017, has successfully recovered a high-purity nickel-cobalt mix by separating impurities, it said in a very statement.

After manufacturing and evaluating LIB cathode material from the recycled nickel-cobalt mixture, experiments have shown the performance of the batteries was appreciate those made using raw materials derived from natural resources.

“No commercialisation plans are set yet, but we’ll still work on the event toward making it commercially viable,” an organization spokesperson said.

Sumitomo Metal supplies nickel-based cathode materials for Panasonic Corp’s LIBs that are employed in Tesla Inc electric vehicles (EVs).

The smelter has also produced a soluble slag that allows lithium recovery by a smelting process in demonstration, it said, helping to ascertain a replacement recycling process for copper, nickel, cobalt and lithium from used rechargeable batteries.

As the world moves to fulfill stringent targets for cutting carbon emissions – partly by phasing out internal-combustion-engine cars – demand for lithium, cobalt and nickel vital for electric vehicle batteries is about to soar, raising the prospect of shortages.

Securing stable supplies could be a major challenge as production regions for these rare metals are unevenly distributed, which makes demand for recycling greater.

“If we are able to commercialize this ‘battery to battery’ recycling process, we are able to contribute to a formation of sustainable circular economy and response to global resource depletion,” Sumitomo Metal said.

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